June 25, 2009. The day that Michael Jackson died.
Some memories are hard to erase.
I had just woken up and stepped out of my room when my brother told me the news. If it was anyone else I wouldn’t have believed them, but my brother, he isn’t the kind of person who would spread a hoax.
My reaction was organic, I felt sick to my stomach.
Back then, Michael Jackson was almost always in the news for all the wrong reasons. Steadfast fans like me finally had something to smile about when he announced the ‘This Is It’ concert series at the O2 arena and the new album which was to accompany it. Now all of a sudden with less than a month left for the first show, he was gone.
My only consolation was the thought that he was finally done with all the suffering and pain that being one of the most popular faces on the planet had brought him. But yeah, to this day, I miss the king of pop, and new album or not, I wish he were still alive.
5 years later I would have a similar experience.
I was at work this time around when I read about Robin William’s passing on the internet. I just sat on my chair frozen for a long time wondering what possibly went wrong.
After I got back home I rummaged through my collection of movies and pulled out every single DVD that had a Robin Williams movie in it.
Good Will Hunting, Dead Poets Society, Awakenings, Jack, Patch Adams, Mrs. Doubtfire, Good Morning Vietnam, Bicentennial Man, I watched them all.
But this wasn’t enough; I had to find out if there were others that I had missed.
I turned to imdb for help and that was how I found out about ‘The Fischer King’.
At first, I couldn’t believe that I was yet to see a film featuring both Jeff Bridges and Robin Williams in it.
How did I miss it when I absolutely loved both these actors?
That’s when I saw the directors name, and I knew why.
Terry Gillem's films are not for everyone.
I have nothing against the man but many of films deal with hard to digest themes that are set in dystopic universes which are often hard to comprehend.
In case you missed it the first time I mentioned it,this film had BOTH Jeff Bridges AND Robin Williams in it. I just had to watch it.
While it wouldn’t be my first recommendation to someone who casually goes to the movies, it is an off-beat film with some excellent performances that might just impress you.
The basic plot of the movie is in itself kind of a major spoiler, so I will restrict myself to only those parts of it that are relevant to this blog post.
Jack (Jeff bridges) is a washed up suicidal, radio jockey who is almost killed one night before being rescued by Parry (Robin Williams) a homeless, schizophrenic man.
Jack tries to repay Parry’s favor by throwing him some money the next day, and when that doesn’t work he very reluctantly decides to try and help Parry put his life back together. He starts by following him around to get to know him better.
It may seem to the rest of the world based on his disposition that Parry’s life is in shambles. But in spite of his crippling hallucinations and delusions he has a routine that is quite impressive.
That’s where the part I love the most about the movie comes in.
Parry is smitten by one particular woman whom he follows on a daily basis, Lydia, an accountant at a publishing house. Lydia is a very shy woman, who struggles with day to day stuff and has trouble with social interaction, he knows that about her. Every morning he stands at a distance cheering for her, hoping that she overcomes her challenges and faces her fears.
I was very moved by this scene in the film.
It brought back to me memories of all the times when I derived inspiration from people around me just watching them live their life, times when I felt comforted by just listening to their conversations. I was reminded of occasions when I rooted for people quietly and hoped that they would make it and rejoiced when they eventually did without them even having the slightest clue that I was in their corner vouching for them, which kind of made it all the more special to me.
It is indeed a beautiful feeling to think that people around us are actually being affected by our seemingly simplistic lives.
But herein lies the problem. We live in a world where there is a constant pressure to be someone else. Our quirks and eccentricities may seem like a hindrance to our own success, I believe that these are the little things that make us special.
Even as you are reading this blog, there is probably someone out there who can’t wait to see you in the morning because your smile which you are so quick to label as ‘awkward’ lightens their soul.
Your work ethic which you feel is obsessive and demanding at times might be what inspires a colleague to do better.
Like in the movie, everything that Lydia wishes she can change about herself is what Parry absolutely adores and loves about her.
While she may think that her life is just a waste of time, without her even knowing it she is giving someone something to hold on to, in Parry’s case, a reason to live.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that it's not just advisable to be yourself, it's absolutely necessary.
There are people counting on you, every single day for you to just show up and do your thing.
It’s the same people who are cheering you on in every struggle you face, and though you may never know who they are, every now and then just remind yourself to smile for them, trust me when I say this, they love that about you.
Until Next Time